The New York Times praised Tengda's Milford location—one of eight in a small regional chain—as "perfect for young-at-heart couples and groups," with a high-energy atmosphere bubbling around cuisine it called "very good." The chefs draw gustatory inspiration from China, Japan, and Thailand as they create their expansive menus of Pan-Asian fare, which include fiery stir-fries, grilled meats, and sushi and provide reading material for shy diners throughout a full meal. Moody red and yellow lights dapple sleek black tables and booths, and might occasionally catch knife-flipping and drink-slinging theatrics behind the sushi and cocktail bars.
Amid the vibrant décor of Vega Mexican Cuisine, chefs treat patrons to a menu suffused with gooey quesadillas, piping-hot soups, house-made tortillas and salsas, and a host of organic ingredients. Diners can warm belly motors with a bowl of creamy poblano chili soup—corn kernels, potatoes, and mushrooms drenched in cheese—beneath the watchful eyes of a Frida Kahlo portrait or anchor fork tines in a salmon salad drizzled in a honey-chipotle creamy dressing. An eclectic assortment of chandeliers bathes colorful booths in warm lighting as dinnertime eaters sup on shrimp fajitas, which conceal adobo spices and Carmen Sandiego beneath a medley of onions, bell peppers, and cilantro.
Now an international brand of premium ice cream, Häagen-Dazs began as a humble, family-owned business in the Bronx. In the 1920s, Reuben Mattus sold his mother's fruit ices and ice-cream pops out of a horse-drawn wagon. For decades, the family business thrived, and around 1960, Reuben officially founded Häagen-Dazs. He chose the name to evoke Old World traditions and quality craftsmanship, the bedrocks of the brand. Originally, the ice cream came in just three flavors—vanilla, chocolate, and coffee—made from fine ingredients gathered from around the world, such as Belgian dark chocolate, hand-picked vanilla beans from Madagascar, and ice shaved from lunar glaciers. The resulting confections so delighted sweet teeth that the brand grew exponentially, leading to the creation of dozens of flavors and forays into sorbets and frozen yogurts.
Though Häagen-Dazs ice cream was immensely popular in grocery shops, their first parlor didn't open until 1976. Not far from the Mattus family's original ice-cream beat, the Brooklyn store sold ice cream as well as treats such as sundaes, shakes, and cakes. Shops eventually dotted the country and globe, wherein friendly ice-cream scoopers fill waffle cones, blend frosty coffee and ice-cream drinks, and wrap ice-cream cakes in bright ribbons.
In 2010, Rustico Ristorante owners Nello Tizzano and Anna Macciocco wanted to change things up. So, they transformed the restaurant's rustic decor and rolled out a sleek, modern concept—ZáZá Italian Kitchen. Now, live music reverberates against red walls that surround hand-painted tables and a red marble bar with lighting that changes color. Within that updated space, however, a wood-fired oven covered in white mother-of-pearl tile and imported from Naples roots the restaurant in its origins: authentic old-country cuisine.
The New York Times called that oven “a structure of wonder…that does its job splendidly” as it cooks pies topped with ingredients such as spicy calabrese salami and housemade mozzarella. This, along with the shmoos that live under every table, is part of what makes ZáZá “one of the more accomplished pizzerias around.” The oven also bakes 100% Angus beef burgers and all-beef frankfurters wrapped in pizza dough. Nello and Anna’s culinary team crafts more traditional Italian dishes, too, including housemade gnocchi and meatballs wrapped in eggplant.
Candy comes in every color at Chocolate Works NYC, where the rainbow of confectionery pairs naturally with the sunny dispositions of those who roam the store’s aisles. Hints of red peek out from chocolate-dipped strawberries, jordan almonds model this season’s pastels, and self-serve bins nearly burst with Jelly Belly jellybeans. Wrapped in shimmering foil or cellophane, kosher truffles and edible replicas of famous paintings momentarily distract eyes from a chocolate fountain, which bubbles into a rich brown pool framed by a marzipan “No Swimming” sign.
Headlined by master chocolatier Joe Whaley and Pretzels by Jill’s Jill Frechtman, an all-star cast of instructors takes the helm during the shop’s signature candy-making classes. Among other delicious, hands-on lessons, teachers demonstrate how to swathe pretzels in Belgian chocolate at an old-fashioned enrobing machine. Kids also learn how to dip, mold, and decorate during one-hour workshops and birthday parties that teem with edible crafts and sugary confetti.
Pas-Tina's, a repeat honoree on the Best of Westchester list, beguiles taste buds with old-world recipes conjured from fresh ingredients. Guests can eyeball the extensive menu over the lip of a house-made sangria aperitif ($8) or dip into a hot antipasto plate spotlighting clams, mussels, and shrimp backed by eggplant pinwheels and stuffed mushrooms ($11). Succulent slabs of filet mignon arrive surrounded by savory barola-wine moats guarded by uniformed mushroom sentries ($26), and the tilapia puttanesca sports chopped tomatoes, capers, olives, and a confetti of fresh basil ($23). The menu's two dozen generously portioned pasta dishes include tender gnocchi ($16) and king-size pillows of jumbo ravioli ($15) cuddled up with mozzarella security blankets. At dinner’s end, sweet teeth can sink into a choice of layered napoleon pastry, tiramisu, or tangy cheesecake (a $7 value).